Humanitarian efforts hampered in South Sudan

Doctors Without Borders says its of critical importance for their staff to work in a safe environment.

Doctors Without Borders says its of critical importance for their staff to work in a safe environment. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Doctors Without Borders says it's humanitarian efforts in South Sudan are being hampered by sporadic fighting.

The organisation's Borrie La Grange says it's of critical importance for their staff to work in a safe environment.

"Healthcare is really sparce and hard to come by. When there is instability like this, people tend to flee into the bush if they are wounded and often come very late to our clinics."

Fighting has left at least 1,000 dead and has split the east African country barely two years after it won independence from Sudan.

It has also raised fears of an all-out civil war between the main Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups which could destabilise the fragile region.

British-based international aid organisation Save the Children says thousands of children are surviving on their own in remote areas of the country.

The organisation says the children have been separated from their families as a result of the latest violence in in the world's youngest country.

Save the Children says some South Sudanese children have seen their parents being killed and their homes looted or destroyed.

More than 121,000 people fled their homes when fighting started, with the result that many families were split up.

At least 1,000 people have died in the fighting that broke out two weeks ago in the capital Juba and has spread to many parts of the country.

The positions of the warring factions in South Sudan seem to be hardening ahead of a regional deadline for talks to begin.